BestStart Waiuku - 19/09/2019

1 Evaluation of BestStart Waiuku

How well placed is BestStart Waiuku to promote positive learning outcomes for children?

Not well placed

Requires further development

Well placed

Very well placed

BestStart Waiuku is well placed to promote positive learning outcomes for children.

ERO's findings that support this overall judgement are summarised below.


BestStart Waiuku is licensed for 138 children, including 24 children up to two years of age. The service is comprised of three purpose-built centres catering for children from babies to preschool.

The centre is part of the BestStart charitable trust. The organisation has re-branded all its early learning services. It provides an overarching governance and management framework to support operations and curriculum delivery in individual centres. Business managers (BM) and professional services managers (PSM) lead the staff professional development and provide strategic guidance.

The majority of staff are long-serving in the centre. An acting centre manager has recently been appointed to guide centre operations. Three head teachers have been employed since the 2016 ERO review. They oversee the management of curriculum and mentor staff in the centre they lead. The acting manager is establishing shared understandings about teaching and learning practices.

The 2016 ERO report noted supportive relationships encourage for children's independence. This strength remains evident. The learning environment has been refurbished. Managers and the teaching team are reviewing the centre's philosophy to better reflect the intentions of teachers.

This review was part of a cluster of nine reviews in BestStart's Upper North Island region.

The Review Findings

Children respond positively to the warm and responsive environment where teachers welcome parents and children. Teachers engage children in respectful and responsive conversations to help them connect to their centre experience. Children enjoy their friendships and play cooperatively with their peers. Teachers encourage parents to be part of their children's play and learning.

Children play in an environment underpinned by literacy, mathematics and especially science. The spacious environment offers opportunities for teachers to provide provocations and a variety of learning opportunities that children. Teachers provide a curriculum that incorporates the emergent interests of children and develop their learning dispositions.

Teachers' reciprocal relationships with families are well established. Parents share their 'hopes and dreams' for their child in formal and informal meetings. Leaders and teachers are developing learning partnerships with families that enable them to know children and families well.

Teachers collate children's development in individual assessment portfolios. An online information sharing tool has strengthened communication with parents and whānau.

Infants and toddlers freely explore their environment. Teachers engage in conversations with children as they play to build language development. They provide opportunities to promote infants' and toddlers' oral language and support their learning and development.

Children experience a programme that promotes Te Tiriti o Waitangi. Teachers use waiata, karakia and te reo Māori with children during routine times. Visual displays, artefacts and rituals further support children's understanding of Māori values.

Centre operations are guided by strategic and annual plans, and a shared vision. These are linked to BestStart strategic goals, which promote a sense of belonging to a wider learning community and support more widespread collaboration amongst teaching teams. Leaders and teachers regularly revisit the centre's strategic goals and annual action plans to monitor quality and promote ongoing improvement.

Key Next Steps

Centre leaders agree that key next steps for centre development include continuing to:

  • develop and embed centre philosophies with indicators to guide teaching practices and curriculum development

  • support leaders to strengthen teaching practices across teams, using reflective and collaborative evaluation of curriculum planning and teaching practice

  • strengthen internal evaluation to ensure ongoing improvement in all aspects of centre operations

  • strengthen bicultural aspects of the programme.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of BestStart Waiuku completed an ERO Centre Assurance Statement and Self-Audit Checklist. In these documents they attested that they have taken all reasonable steps to meet their legal obligations related to:

  • curriculum
  • premises and facilities
  • health and safety practices
  • governance, management and administration.

During the review, ERO looked at the service’s systems for managing the following areas that have a potentially high impact on children's wellbeing:

  • emotional safety (including positive guidance and child protection)

  • physical safety (including supervision; sleep procedures; accidents; medication; hygiene; excursion policies and procedures)

  • suitable staffing (including qualification levels; police vetting; teacher registration; ratios)

  • evacuation procedures and practices for fire and earthquake.

All early childhood services are required to promote children's health and safety and to regularly review their compliance with legal requirements.

Steve Tanner

Director Review and Improvement Services Northern

Northern Region

19 September 2019

The Purpose of ERO Reports

The Education Review Office (ERO) is the government department that, as part of its work, reviews early childhood services throughout Aotearoa New Zealand. ERO’s reports provide information for parents and communities about each service’s strengths and next steps for development. ERO’s bicultural evaluation framework Ngā Pou Here is described in SECTION 3 of this report. Early childhood services are partners in the review process and are expected to make use of the review findings to enhance children's wellbeing and learning.

2 Information about the Early Childhood Service


Waiuku, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

138 children, including up to 24 aged under 2 years

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys 57% Girls 43%

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā
other ethnic groups


Percentage of qualified teachers


Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2


Meets minimum requirements

Over 2


Meets minimum requirements

Review team on site

July 2019

Date of this report

19 September 2019

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

June 2015

Education Review

March 2012

Education Review

March 2009

3 General Information about Early Childhood Reviews

ERO’s Evaluation Framework

ERO’s overarching question for an early childhood education review is ‘How well placed is this service to promote positive learning outcomes for children?’ ERO focuses on the following factors as described in the bicultural framework Ngā Pou Here:

Pou Whakahaere – how the service determines its vision, philosophy and direction to ensure positive outcomes for children

Pou Ārahi – how leadership is enacted to enhance positive outcomes for children

Mātauranga – whose knowledge is valued and how the curriculum is designed to achieve positive outcomes for children

Tikanga whakaako – how approaches to teaching and learning respond to diversity and support positive outcomes for children.

Within these areas ERO considers the effectiveness of arotake – self review and of whanaungatanga – partnerships with parents and whānau.

ERO evaluates how well placed a service is to sustain good practice and make ongoing improvements for the benefit of all children at the service.

A focus for the government is that all children, especially priority learners, have an opportunity to benefit from quality early childhood education. ERO will report on how well each service promotes positive outcomes for all children, with a focus on children who are Māori, Pacific, have diverse needs, and are up to the age of two.

For more information about the framework and Ngā Pou Here refer to ERO’s Approach to Review in Early Childhood Services.

ERO’s Overall Judgement

The overall judgement that ERO makes will depend on how well the service promotes positive learning outcomes for children. The categories are:

  • Very well placed

  • Well placed

  • Requires further development

  • Not well placed

ERO has developed criteria for each category. These are available on ERO’s website.

Review Coverage

ERO reviews are tailored to each service’s context and performance, within the overarching review framework. The aim is to provide information on aspects that are central to positive outcomes for children and useful to the service.